Precious Cargo


Some of the people we admire most in this life are those who defend others. Those who stand up for and protect another person’s character or reputation because they are fearless in doing the right thing. Sometimes these kinds of people even stand in harm’s way in order to protect a friend. What a privilege to have a friend like this—one who is loyal to you, who makes you feel safe no matter what the circumstance, like precious cargo. A defender like this encourages and empowers a person to fearlessly do things that they might not have attempted beforehand.

  • What place or person made you feel safe and protected as a child? As an adult, where and when (or with whom) do you feel most secure?


23 Then he called two of the centurions and said, “Get ready two hundred soldiers, with seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go as far as Caesarea at the third hour of the night. 24 Also provide mounts for Paul to ride and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 And he wrote a letter to this effect:

26 “Claudius Lysias, to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings. 27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them when I came upon them with the soldiers and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman citizen. 28 And desiring to know the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their council.29 I found that he was being accused about questions of their law, but charged with nothing deserving death or imprisonment. 30 And when it was disclosed to me that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, ordering his accusers also to state before you what they have against him.”

31 So the soldiers, according to their instructions, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 And on the next day they returned to the barracks, letting the horsemen go on with him. 33 When they had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they presented Paul also before him. 34 On reading the letter, he asked what province he was from. And when he learned that he was from Cilicia, 35 he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” And he commanded him to be guarded in Herod’s praetorium.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How many men did the Roman commander assign to protect Paul on the trek from Jerusalem to Caesarea, the Roman headquarters in Judea? This sizable contingency then left the city in the dark of night. Why the elaborate security precautions?
  2. How did God use these measures, ordered by a Roman commander, for his purposes?
  3. Which details in the letter indicate that the commander declared Paul to be innocent?
  4. Paul was ordered to be kept under guard in Herod’s praetorium, the governor’s official residence. What does this indicate about his value?
  5. If you knew God himself was your protector and defender, what would you be willing to do or say? Where would you be willing to go?


In their frustration with Paul, the Jews had hatched a major conspiracy plot involving 40 men to ambush and kill him on the way to court in Jerusalem. But even the most careful and cunning of human plans cannot succeed when you are working in God’s will, when God is your defender. And when we are working in God’s will, fearlessly telling our personal conversion story and proclaiming the gospel like Paul continued to do, God has our backs, too. In a dangerous world, the safest person to know is the Lord. And the safest place to be is the center of his will. We are his precious cargo. Knowing this, what are you willing to do and say, and where are you willing to go for the Lord?

  • Pray that God will give you courage like Paul to fearlessly do, say, and go where he leads you, and the confidence to know that he will protect you, no matter what.